Free access to all national parks in September

AUGUST 31, 2016

South African National Parks (SANParks) is again opening its doors for free from Monday, 12 September until Friday, 16 September as part of the annual South African National Parks Week.

This campaign under the established theme ‘Know Your National Parks’ will allow locals with valid identity documents an opportunity to spend a day at a national park of their choice free of charge.

The week-long campaign will be applicable to all the national parks managed by SANParks, with the exception of Boulders in Table Mountain National Park and Namaqua National Park. Some of the parks will be extending the week to include the weekend. For individual park dates please visit: https://www.sanparks.org/about/events/parks_week/ 

According to SANParks Acting Head of Communications, Mr William Mabasa the objective of the week is to cultivate a culture of pride in all South Africans in their relationship with the country’s natural, cultural and historical heritage. “When people start to take pride in the national parks, then we believe that they will start to understand the importance of conservation”.

The idea of a national parks focus week is a world-wide campaign and was conceived in in South Africa in 2006, after realising that a vast majority of South Africans were not accessing the national parks.

The feature element of this campaign is the free access granted to all South African day visitors carrying their official Identity Documents. Young persons under the age of 16 will be allowed free access without proof of identity. It should be noted that the free access to the parks will not include accommodation and any commercial activities in the park such as guided safaris in vehicles or guided walks, etc. 

“This year’s SA National Parks Week will include exhibitions around the country at various key national parks which will represent the different geographical regions of SANParks. The expo will include cultural, conservation, nursery and tourism aspects from the community, rangers and various conservation entities in order to highlight the broader South African biodiversity landscape,” said Mabasa.

The annual SA National Parks Week has been made possible with support from First National Bank (FNB). “Once again, we hope that through allowing free access to our National Parks, we will succeed in encouraging all South Africans, to visit the beautiful parks our country has to offer. At FNB we understand that we have a responsibility to conserve and protect the environment and as corporate South Africa we have prioritised the reduction of our carbon footprint through our daily operations” says Kgosi Ledimo, CEO FNB Public Sector Banking.

Total South Africa has again stepped up to the plate to help South Africans access these beautiful acres of land across the country. Says Total’s GM:  Sales & Marketing, Qetello Zeka:  “We are very pleased to once again be involved in this project.  It is such a good initiative and one that will go far in helping to drive the message that we are all custodians of nature conservation and of our environment to the public.”

SANParks encourages all South Africans and especially educators and school groups to diarise these dates and plan a visit to a national park nearby. “The survival of the South African national parks system and our natural and cultural heritage lies in the people of South Africa,” concludes Mabasa.

Share your visit to a National Park during SA National Parks Week using #SANationalParksWeek and tag @SANParks

Image SANParks